Tuesday, August 21, 2012

500 Miles on a 100-Degree Day, or Why I Love My Brenderup

We moved two horses from here, the Southern Tier of NY, to Mid-Coast Maine in June.



It was hovering right around 100 degrees that day, and every New England radio station we tuned in was reporting local high temperature records being set as we cruised northeastward.

We caravaned in two big American pick-up trucks, one to pull the Brenderup, and one to bring it back home empty (and also to be a backup in case of emergency).  Both trucks had huge front and side windows, offering a spectacular view of the gorgeous June day.  Neither truck had air-conditioning, offering a spectacular greenhouse effect as the sun beat in on a gorgeous June day.
The people were toasty.  And very nervous about the condition of the horses.  Trailering is one thing, 500 miles is another, and the heat?  Well, we were at about our maximum anxiety threshold.
What?  We're fine.
At every stop along the way, we popped open the door of the B'upster to find the horses quite comfortable, not a drop of sweat on them, and the air coming out of the rolling igloo a good 10 degrees cooler than what we'd been riding in up front.  The white, reflective roof, good air circulation design, and the comfy shock-absorbers kept the horses mellow, cool, and enjoying the ride.  When we checked on them, they just looked at us as if to say, What?  Why have we stopped?  Oh, hay?  Oh, alright then.

We discovered on our journey, one of our first in many years, that the concept of a shady, tree-lined, state-run rest stop has gone the way of the rotary dial telephone.  Rest stops have now become "service plazas"-- all concrete parking lot, fuel station, and giant convenience store/fast-food stops.  Well all that concrete was quite warm that June day, and parking in between idling tractor trailers did nothing to cool us off or lower our anxiety about the horses.  Not until northern New Hampshire, a good 375 miles into the journey, were we able to find a "traditional" rest stop, with trees, picnic tables, and a little bit of off-the-tarmac peace and quiet.  

The horses were still fine there, happy as clams, cool as cucumbers, and utterly unstressed by their journey thus far.

Finally, we reached the state of Maine.  Still more than an hour to go, but proximity to the water meant the ambient air temperature was closer to 80/85.  I suggested that I was getting chilly and might need a sweater.

My dear friend, whose horses we were hauling to their new home, was just giddy with excitement to be getting so close to her new home.
Excited?  Or suffering heat stroke?

Finally, we arrived and unloaded.  Both horses were a little poopy on the backside, but no worse than that for wear.  They moved out, had a good roll, and set themselves to the busy job of grazing their new pasture.

Sherm's buddy, Moon, has a good roll.

We made sure they had a good drink, knew where their shed, their salt, and their water was, and we headed to the house to unwind.

We're good now.  Thanks for the ride!
When we checked on them again hours later, they were both settled in like they'd lived there all their lives, and I swear Moon thanked me for getting him there and then dismissed me from my duties as his caregiver.  

It was then, of course, that the bawling began.  All the focus on the logistics of getting the horses safely to their new home had allowed me to stifle the overwhelming sadness I felt because my dear friend and her horses, whom I have loved as my own, were moving 500 miles away.  

The bawling and weepiness abated somewhat with dinner, but I still miss them all terribly.  
We'll be back for more lobstah!

Getting those horses there safely, particularly in the grueling summer heat of 2012, will probably be one of my proudest accomplishments of the summer.  That's not really saying much, I suppose, because all we did was drive...and drive...and drive.  But they're home with their mom in their new digs, and that's something to appreciate.

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